Europe,  Semester at Sea,  Travel

Lumen Gentium

Growing up, I absolutely despised my name.

My name is “Lumen Gentium”, which literally translates to “Light of the Nations” in Latin. Whenever I introduced myself to new people, I would have to either spell “Lumen” out or just let them call me by my nickname, Lulu. Never mind my second name! As a young girl, I would often wonder why my parents didn’t give me a name that was more common, like Sarah or Christine.

After spending time in the Vatican, where the Lumen Gentium document, my name inspiration, was created, I realized that my name is very fitting for me. I began to feel guilty because I truly felt as if I didn’t live up to my name. That I didn’t deserve such a meaningful label. It’s not an easy task – to be a constant light in people’s lives.

As I took in the beauty of the architecture of the holy sites, it hit me that there are many instances that I am a light in people’s lives. I began to think about my relationships with my family and friends, and more often than not, they would describe me as a positive, upbeat soul, even in times of turmoil. I couldn’t believe that it took me 20 years and a trip to Italy to fully appreciate my name!

What does your name mean?


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